Issue 8 - October 2010
EPC Latest News
The Shortcut to SEPA: Who Is Who and Who Does WhatLatest EPC releases highlight key SEPA concepts and prove: the IBAN is your new best friend!
25.10.10 By Meral Ruesing
If you are a standards professional active in payments, you have probably noticed that talking about your job effectively ends even the most animated dinner party. Twenty seconds into your monologue on the benefits of using the ISO 20022 payment initiation message in the XML syntax to send a SEPA Credit Transfer, your guests will stare at you blankly, remember that they have to get up really early and run for their lives before you even have a chance to flame the crème brulée. To improve the social life of payment professionals and translate the SEPA objectives into a language intelligible to all market participants, the EPC has released new and additional titles in the popular "Shortcut" series. The new booklet "SEPA Direct Debit for Consumers" is a non-technical reference for payers (and billers) who wish to learn more about the features and options of the SDD Core Scheme designed to make paying bills even more convenient. A new EPC video feature offers, amongst others, practical guidance on the use of the International Bank Account Number (IBAN).***
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New: SEPA Direct Debit for Consumers - a convenient and secure way to make payments
The EPC publication 'SEPA Direct Debit for Consumers' (a link is included below) focuses on the SEPA Core Direct Debit Scheme (SDD Core) which serves as an easy-to-use and secure payment method, allowing bank customers to make direct debit payments domestically and - for the first time ever - across 32 SEPA countries. This booklet is a concise and non-technical reference for payers (and billers) who wish to learn more about the many features and options provided by SDD Core, which is designed to make paying bills even more convenient in everyday live.
As of November 2010, all banks1 in the euro area offering national direct debit services are mandated by EU law to be "reachable" for cross-border direct debit payments. In practice, this means that any consumer who holds an account in the euro area, which provides the option to make direct debit payments at national level, will be able to make payments by SDD Core as well. Naturally, this requires businesses to give consumers the option to pay for goods and services via SDD.
New: Shortcut to Who is Who in SEPA
The "Shortcut to Who is Who in SEPA" (a link is included below) provides an overview of the main actors driving forward the SEPA vision at a European level including the EPC, the European Commission, the Economic and Financial Affairs Council (ECOFIN - comprising the EU Finance and Budget Ministers), the European Parliament, the European Central Bank / Eurosystem, the SEPA Council and the EU Forum of National SEPA Coordination Committees. This publication describes specific responsibilities in the process of making SEPA a reality. This publication also reaffirms that the EPC - as it is sometimes mistakenly assumed - is NOT responsible for the overall management of the SEPA process.
Updated edition: Shortcut to SEPA Direct Debit
The "Shortcut to SEPA Direct Debit" (a link is included below) summarises the main features of the SDD Schemes, including their key benefits. The SEPA Schemes define sets of rules and standards for the execution of SEPA payment transactions that have to be observed by payment service providers (PSPs). The SEPA Schemes are set out in the SEPA Scheme Rulebooks approved by the EPC. These rulebooks can be regarded as instruction manuals which ensure a common understanding between PSPs on how to move funds from account A to account B within SEPA. The rules and standards which make up a payment scheme are defined by PSPs in the collaborative space provided by the EPC.
The particular SEPA payment products and services offered to the customer are developed by individual, or groups of, PSPs operating in a competitive environment. The SEPA Schemes provide the flexibility and options which enable PSPs to add features and services of their choice to the actual payment products.
For a definitive source of information regarding the rules and obligations of the schemes, refer to the SDD Scheme Rulebooks and the accompanying 'Implementation Guidelines' available for download on the EPC website.
Updated edition: Shortcut to SEPA Credit Transfer
In January 2008, more than 4,300 banks in 32 countries, representing more than 95 per cent of euro payment volume in Europe, took a historical step towards the realisation of SEPA by launching the SEPA Credit Transfer Scheme (SCT).
The 'Shortcut to SEPA Credit Transfer' (a link is included below) summarises the main features of the SCT Scheme including its key benefits. For a definitive source of information regarding the rules and obligations of the scheme, refer to the SCT Scheme Rulebook and the accompanying 'Implementation Guidelines' available for download on the EPC website.
Updated edition: Shortcut to the SEPA Data Format
The "Shortcut to the SEPA Data Format" (a link is included below) summarises the main features of the SEPA data formats as specified in the Implementation Guidelines which accompany the SCT Scheme Rulebook and the SDD Scheme Rulebooks.
In the world of payments processing, the role of the data format used to exchange information between banks can be compared to the role of language in communication between people. Today, dozens of different data formats are in place to process payments across different national and European clearing systems in the European Union.
The realisation of SEPA requires agreement on a common set of data to be exchanged in a common syntax. The SEPA data formats, as specified by the EPC for the exchange of SEPA payments like direct debits and credit transfers, represent a common data set. These formats are binding for the exchange of SEPA payments between scheme participants (PSPs offering SEPA services that have formally agreed to adhere to the SEPA Payment Schemes developed by the EPC). Implementation of the SEPA data formats in the customer-to-bank and bank-to-customer communication is not mandatory, but strongly recommended.
The latest versions of the Implementation Guidelines which accompany the SEPA payment schemes are available for download on the EPC website.
Updated edition: EPC video feature "An Introduction to SEPA"
The EPC will release an updated edition of the EPC video feature "An Introduction to SEPA" in the first week of November 2010. The video highlights the key SEPA objectives and offers practical guidance on the use of the International Bank Account Number (IBAN - based on ISO2 standard 13616) and the Business Identifier Code (BIC - based on ISO standard 9362). SEPA enables bank customers to exchange euro payments between any accounts in the 32 SEPA countries. This is only possible when banks and bank customers agree to use account identifiers which are unique and which therefore allow accounts to be pinpointed not only at national level but anywhere in SEPA. Consequently, in SEPA, IBAN and BIC are the only permissible account identifiers.
This video is produced in English; sub-titled editions in all EU languages will be made available. A link to the video will be added in this article once posted on the EPC homepage.
EPC publication "SEPA Direct Debit for Consumers - a convenient and secure way to make payments" (new!) (This publication was replaced by new material. Please visit the EPC Website page 'SEPA Customers'.)
EPC publication "Shortcut to Who is Who in SEPA" (new!)
EPC publication "Shortcut to SEPA Direct Debit" (updated edition September 2010)
EPC video feature "An Introduction to SEPA"
Related articles in this issue:
So what's in a Name? Explaining payment schemes, instruments and systems. Clarity on payment terms is critical in the debate over the approach to setting end dates for migration to SEPA through EU Regulation.
1 The term "bank" is used in a non-discriminatory fashion and does not exclude payment service providers that are not credit institutions.
2 ISO: International Organization for Standardization
Other articles in this issue
25.10.10 The EPC Newsletter also Makes for a Nice Christmas Present - Do you agree? Please share your thoughts on this newsletter by completing our reader survey! By the EPC Newsletter Editorial Board 25.10.10 Update EPC Plenary Meetings - Main decisions taken in September 2010 By Gerard Hartsink 25.10.10 Facing up to the IT Challenge - Choosing the right IT strategy for SEPA compliance By Magiel Bruntink and Zeeger Lubsen 25.10.10 The Way is the Goal - New book on the (rocky) road to EU payments integration By Ruth Wandhöfer 25.10.10 Moving Forward - 'Banks & Future 2010' identifies the trends shaping the European payments market By Claus-Peter Praeg and Benjamin Syrbe 25.10.10 332 Votes for an End Date - Main findings of the European Payments Survey 2010 on SEPA and the PSD By Chris Skinner 25.10.10 Facing the Facts in October 2010 - The EPC Newsletter tracks the progress of SEPA implementation By Gerard Hartsink 25.10.10 The Single Euro Cash Area - Towards a more efficient European cash society By Carlo R.W. de Meijer 25.10.10 Searching for Enlightenment? - The new book 'ISO 20022 For Dummies' has all the answers! Jamie Shay and Stephen Lindsay 25.10.10 The Global Data Highway - The ISO 20022 catalogue of financial services messages: a progress report By Jolanda Schekermans 25.10.10 An Epic Voyage: the SEPA Odyssey - Looking to Homer provides useful insight on the integration of the euro payments market By Javier Santamaría 25.10.10 So what´s in a Name? Explaining Payment Schemes, Instruments and Systems - Clarity on payment terms is critical in the debate over the approach to setting end dates for migration to SEPA through EU Regulation By Gerard Hartsink 25.10.10 Preparation for SEPA by Public Administrations in France - France´s public administrations are among the country´s leading users of cashless payment systems By Daniel Perrin 25.10.10 The Quantum Leap for SEPA Direct Debit - From 1 November 2010, all banks in the euro area are reachable for SEPA Core Direct Debit By Javier Santamaría and Kevin Brown 25.10.10 Common Architecture for Mobile Payments - EPC and GSMA publish joint paper on mobile contactless payments service management By Dag-Inge Flatraaker 25.10.10 SEPA Schemes: Next Generation - EPC publishes new versions of the SCT and SDD Rulebooks on 1 November 2010 By Javier Santamaría
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